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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is Justice Private?

Somali pirates have increasingly been attacking international ships in the past few years, and though there have been few deaths of civilians, there is some large concern over the safety of ship crews and the need for commerce to continue in the world even at the risk of death of pirates. Shipping continues despite the threat of Somali piracy. Now it comes to guns. Is it right or wrong to defend shipping and crews from violent, maybe not-so-violent, Somali pirates? After all, Somali pirates hardly ever kill civilians in the course of their attacks. Should we kill them anyway? And who has such a right-- if we do determine to kill Somali pirates? Do civilians have such a lawful right? Isn't it murder? Maybe, because Somalis do so little actual violence, and because they are driven to it by illegal dumping of toxic waste by capitalists who blithely poison Somali fishing grounds, the natives are simply getting some just but otherwise unforthcoming economic justice, and the capitalists are over-reacting to some poor fishermen who simply want to live and feed their families.

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26 Comments:

Blogger revereridesagain said...

Right.

Yes.

Anybody.

Yes.

No.

Give me a break.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 11:33:00 pm  
Blogger Dag said...

Uh huh.

I'm hoping some something intelligent next.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 12:16:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Now that I'm not pissed-off, come up with some good reason to show that vigilantes have some legitimate right to defend interntional shipping and crews. If you can do that, which I see no sign of, ou might then ask where we draw the line, and where we feel comfortable with Obama taking over our nation and what we do about it when we are not comfortable.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 12:22:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

Civilians on the high seas have every right to defend themselves. Just as a civilian anywhere would. If a Somali pirate doesn't want to become shark chum, he should choose a more leisurely pasttime. They know the risk and choose to do so anyway. Just as civilians know the risk and choose to hire private security, if you will.

I don't think the illegal dumping defense holds up too much, especially since it's (likely) not the individuals they are attacking that did the dumping.

It would be like saying I have no right to defend my family if we're attacked by gun wielders who say they want my money because my wife's sister wrecked their car. I have no way of knowing whether they intend harm or not and whether or not their guns are loaded so I am going to respond just as I'm sure you can imagine I would :)

That's how I see it, anyway.

Now, as to the second part of your question regarding Obama and his thugocracy, might I suggest 2 interesting reads I saw today (both pretty short). First http://washingtonrebel.typepad.com/washington_rebel/2010/03/rattling-the-second-amendment-saber.html
which contains a link to this excellent piece
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36108&page=1&viewID=1357684

Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:41:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Thanks, I'll look into the links and come back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:55:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

I ask the questions above to see if we can sort out the nature of our legitimate resistance: Clearly, to me and many others, if we were to be approached by men firing weapons at us, our first response would not be to claim their victim status and our complicity in such. We would ,were we like me and mine, simply and automatically defend ourselves if possible, or surrender with the least harm to us if not.

St. Augustine puts it nicely in his discussion of the Melians, c.f. Thucydides, when he states that one should not fight a battle one cannot win. That, of course, is a Christian position. Muslims and perhaps pirates in general do not need conform to such morality or sophisticated insight into the nature of the moral. I think we, Christian or not, do. If we are confronted by jihadis firing weapons, then we must surrender to them rather than fight for a certain loss on our part, committing murder in a sense by dying needlessly and hopelessly. The question then is should we allow any defence of our own in the light of possible attack on the high seas by jihadis? If not, then we must, at all times, surrender to the jihadis and hope for their mercy. If not, then, as Augustine continues, we must prevail, assuming our morality, to the point that the threat is emptied entirely: that there will be no chance of further destruction by the defeated jihadis recovered and come back for vengeance. It is not a matter of Total War but of rational defeat and submission of the hostiles to preserve them from further harm and protection of our innocent. That's the moral position. It's what we call "proportionality." It doesn't mean tit-for-tat: it means stopping the threat so it will not arise from our leniency later. That brings us to fighting.

If we're attacked, the moral among us must defeat our attackers fully. If we kill one and the others surrender only to regroup and kill more later, then we are, according to this line of reasoning, immoral ourselves. So, do we arm ourselves fully and commit to victory as above? or do we surrender? It's one or the other, assuming we are moral in this sense.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 3:13:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Knowing we will face a possibility of attack, based on our experience, should we prepare for sufficient counter-violence in the case of attack? Augustine declares that we should attack sufficiently to annul the harm but that we must then stop our violence. We have no moral right to exterminate. Just War has no place for genocide. Enough but no more than enough to stop further violence against the innocent.

Are Somalis innocent? I don't think so. But even so, were they responding to imposed anarchy in Somalia by piracy for the sake of Life itself, we too have what I see as a right to self-defence under threat of violence, and particularly under acts of violence against us, i.e. pirates firing at our ships. What do we do? I'd shoot. But I'm in an apartment, not on the high seas. The question is abstract at this point for me and for us here. Abstract but immediate in other senses: that our government is acting, to a lesser degree, like pirates against us, using shabby cliches of victimhood as an excuse to rob us and enslave us.

There must be more, but I excuse myself at this time for dinner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 3:21:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Our national governments, and here I use the term broadly to cover he Modern world of democracies, are legitimate in that they are not rule by privilege and force.

Some disagree: we hear and read, in Canada where I am currently resident, the slogan chanted, "No [X] on stolen Native land." Whether many of them understand the nature of the slogan, they mean that the government is illegitimate, i.e. that it is an imposition of force by colonialism on a native space by force. Thus, no government, no law passed by the normative governments in the nation, are legitimate, based as they are on illegal occupation of land belonging to others. All laws are invalid other those Native (i.e. Indian) laws. If one makes that argument, then everything that follows from is is to dismiss any legitimacy of our nations based on our laws thereafer. There is no meeting place of minds to discuss. The same holds true of the argument that Imperialism is responsible for the anarchy in Somalia and the justification of piracy on the high seas as legitimate self-defence on the part of Somali fishermen. There is simply nothing to talk abut. Given that, and it is, do we avoid the oceans for fear of attack? surrender for fear of causing harm to others? or attack in full force to forestall further harm even at the point of doing immediate harm to attackers? Since we cannot rationally discuss this with our opponents, it is up to us to make our own positions clear to ourselves. Knowing that, we then act accordingly.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 3:40:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

My concern is whether we live under pirate governments. Are pirate governments rational? Can we discuss our situations with them and resolve them peacefully? If not,a t what point can we rightly defend ourselves from our pirate governments? and what legitimate resistance is open to us?

Sunday, March 28, 2010 3:49:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

In the case of Jihadis and Somali pirates (essentially the same) fight back, always fight back. If they surrender you take them prisoner, not let them retreat to fight another day.

In the case of self defense, at least in the U.S. (I don't know about Canadian laws) you can defend yourself up to and only to the point the threat is stopped. Whether they're dead or running away that's about as far as a jury is going to accept. Some states are more lenient in allowing pursuit, most aren't. From my perspective -- remember I carry a gun, always -- I say if you are no longer an immediate threat to me I will cease fire. I don't WANT to kill anyone, just stop the threat as quickly and convincingly as possible.

So it is difficult to have one rule that would apply to combat (Jihadis), self defense (as I just described) and something in between, like high seas piracy.

That said, turning to the matter of governmental overreach. Keep in mind that we have not yet been threatened physically at the point of sword or gun. SO self defense is out.

Nor are we engaged in a physical war with the government, so combat is out.

Nor are they guilty of physical piracy.

IF it were to come to it (and I really hope it doesn't but my hope dims more each day) it would mean that the 1st and 10th amendments have failed utterly(as described in those articles) and we have no choice but to either fight or submit to tyranny. Just like 1776.

(OK -- ALL YOU MONITORING THIS SITE PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT ADVOCATING ANYTHING HERE)

To choose to fight here we would be protecting our basic human or god given rights to life liberty etc. Preserving what is ours.

So the guns come out for that defense. And now they are pointed in open rebellion BUT NOT FIRED.

Those being rebelled against now have a choice to make.

Submit/surrender in a bloodless coup

or

EXERCISE THEIR OWN GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE.

Which, of course, is when it gets nasty.

The rebellion has clearly stepped beyond what is legal as things now stand but have they stepped beyond moral if they believe themselves to truly be defending their birthright of freedom? I don't think so IF AND ONLY IF ALL OTHER NON-VIOLENT MEANS HAVE BEEN EXHAUSTED.

And they must understand that those they go against have every right to self defense as well and that a line will have been crossed that cannot be uncrossed.

There, I think that's about as incoherent as I can get.

How was supper?

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:04:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

No, I don't believe we live under pirate governments. They were duly elected (sorta) so they are legitimate. Their actions are another issue entirely and, in the case of the U.S. contravene our own Constituional law. But we still have many non-violent ways to deal with that. Vote them out. Fight it in the courts. Etc. before ever considering a threat of force.

However, were they to try to use force (conspiracy theorists please check your cloak and daggers at the door) to uphold illegal legislation then the dynamic changes completely and we have every right to respond in kind. Under self defense. And then choose whether we want to step beyond that to combat.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:14:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

Dangit Dag quit typing so fast, dude. I'm several comments behind you :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:15:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Throwing eggs at buses full of Tea Party civilians in Nevada is not the same as Somali pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades at ships at sea. The question is whether we can have a rational discussion with either jihadis or Leftists without resorting on all sides to violence. If the Left in the Modern world is so Irrationalist, what can we do to protect ourselves from their violence? I don't mean muggers in the night but a full force of Left insurgents bent on attacking citizens en masse, attacking us through the court systems and the further administration of justice.What can we legitimately do if our nations' other half is insane and violent?

We have up-coming back home in November an intermediate election. Iran had an election recently too. Not all elections are equal. What do we make of elections in, for example, Britain, where by state policy, the natives are swamped with immigrants voting for the Labour party against the wishes of the natives themselves? What do we do if the nation's majority is foreign and naturalised and Irrationalist? What do we do if there is an "amnesty" of illegal aliens in our nations and the balance tilts toward hostility toward the natives? against Positive Law? against Reason and Democracy itself?

What do we do if our nation is overtaken by a foreign occupation of "voters"?

America is a republic, true, but it can change into a Leftist police state through the democracy that is also our nation. We can object, but so what? Bluster all we will about our traditions and our rights and our legitimacy as citizens, we have nothing but empty words in light of masses of invaders and subversives as dangerous to our nations as armed Somali pirates. Our ship of state faces boarding by pirates. Do private citizens have a right to self defence?

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:19:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Oh. Good thing I was eating as I typed.

Good points from you.

I'll digest them and come back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:22:00 am  
Blogger christian soldier said...

Jefferson and Madison knew how to deal with pirates....
http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/testing-pirates-sieze-us-flagged-ship.html
C-CS

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:47:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

I'm not refering to Tea Parties nor juvenile acts of vandalism here when I talk about violence. I'm talking about Marshall Law, suspension of elections, house to house confiscation of guns (or anything else for that matter).

If the other half is insane and violent then WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO RESPOND WITH VIOLENCE. But only to the point the threat is neutralized.

In the U.S. it would take a change of the Constitution for immigrants to be allowed to vote. And to become a naturalized citizen is no easy task.

Americans would respond with force if America became or was becoming a police state.

Do private citizens have a right to self defence? -- yes, absolutely. Every human being does. But they have to protect that right, which may in itself require acts of violence.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 4:51:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

I'd like to shift this discussion to international high seas rather than limit our thinking to America itself.

We began this by looking at private security on international ships in international waters acting in self defence against piracy. I ask if it's right for men without government sanction to fight on behalf of corporations rather than states. Is that legitimate? Is it right for private men to shoot and kill civilians from other nations in self-fence if there is a way other than shooting at all. Surrender is an option, as the full story makes plain, only one hostage so far being executed by pirates. The hostages' odds are good for survival. Is it right for private men to shoot pirates? We do have national armies and navies to deal with these things. Can we make room for privateers?

Is it self-defence to shoot a man who is not likely to kill? Can we really call a Somali hijacker an immediate threat if we are fairly sure, given past practice, that he will not kill? Yes, he and his mates are armed and dangerous, but do we escalate the danger by arming private security who kill?

"[Y]ou can defend yourself up to and only to the point the threat is stopped."

Are Somali pirates a "serious" threat? Yes, but to the point of preparing to kill them in advance? That's not so clear. Is it right to prepare for an eventuality that becomes a reality if we make it so? After all, it's only piracy. It's only rape. It's only kidnapping. It's only this or that. Death is far more lasting.

We stand a chance of being brutalised by pirates. We further the harm by fighting back. We have a military who are vested with legitimate authority to deal with such after the fact. We have to ask if we should prepare for potential violence against us that will become actual violence if the potential occurs. We can avoid the violence culminating in death if we do not prepare for self-defence. We will be brutalised, and then everyone goes home. Probably. What to support?

Armed security is proactive and leads to the likelihood of death in case of piracy. Where do we draw the line?

Do we stay at home? accept brutality? escalate bad situations to the point of certain violence? My question is where the citizen has a right to defend himself; and further, where the citizen has a right to defend the nation and culture itself.

Somali piracy is not just a threat to those who go down to the sea in ships: it's a threat to our Modernity in general, even if no bayonets or swords are pointed at our chests right now. This piracy harms our culture in the same way that losing our efforts in Somalia in the 1990s lead to 9-11. Our "weakness" emboldened the jihadis. They attacked us.

We can vote, but if it means that there is a general amnesty for illegal aliens, and they like voters in Britain can vote, then we might, like the British, have a jihadi/Left tyranny we voted for fair and square.

I'm with Revere in that I have full faith in our democracy. I do wonder though about the world at large that shelters our enemies. If we surrender to them each and every time they attack us on the high seas of "somewhere else," do we give them licence to attack us at home? If we arm ourselves in light of potential attack, do we provoke a fight otherwise merely assault rather than death?

If our nations can't or won't defend us in foreign parts, can we legitimately support mercenary activities? It could well be that we will face condemnation from those in government who side with our enemies regardless, they feeling that our nation is illegitimate and that we are wrong prima facia to defend ourselves in any circumstances. Our national interests and our national laws live far beyond our national borders. Outside those bounds, and with a hostile government inside, what do those outside do legitimately in defence of self and nation as it is?

Sunday, March 28, 2010 5:38:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

I've recently read Joshua E. London, Victory in Tripoli. Wiley and Sons; 2005.Fr what I recall, there isn't much change in the parties for appeasement. We see it daily today. The war against the Barbary pirates ended well enough. We don't have such men in charge today. I ask if we should support privateers if our government continues appeasement in the face of piracy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 5:47:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

Apologies, Dag, I thought you wanted to apply this to the U.S. (& Canada).

"After all, it's only piracy. It's only rape. It's only kidnapping."

"We will be brutalised, and then everyone goes home. Probably."

To me, all enough to fight back, kill if necessary. Yes, absolutely.

It's my body, my safety. I defend it. No one has a right to harm it. They try at their own risk.

Yes, support ymercs if necessary. No different than someone small or not able to defend themselves hiring a bodyguard.

It doesn't matter what nation you are from, if someone aims to harm you have the right to fight back.

Self defense is a human right.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 6:13:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

To clarify, though, we're talking about self defense here. Stopping the threat in place. Choosing to pursue AFTER the threat has broken off is another matter entirely. For that I say the governments should solely handle it. That crosses a line and is not a job for the mercs.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 6:48:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

I walk a razor's edge when I travel, being prudent in foreign lands so I don't have to accept the endless hospitality of those I would rather say goodbye to after sufficient time on the ground; being forceful enough that I'm not walked on or destroyed outright by aggression provoked by weakness; and serious about not violating the laws I must take with me from my homeland to other nations, i.e. the laws of Human decency and the laws of our land as they apply to me even if I'm in another nation.

There are, rightly, laws against Americans taking the law into their own hands even if they are outside American jurisdiction: mercenaries are subject to American laws no matter where they act. Private security guards on international ships at sea are still liable to American laws. I'm not keen on breaking the law.

Hobbes puts it very nicely somewhere in Leviathan that even the condemned prisoner has a legitimate right to try to preserve his life. There's only so much law-abiding one is expected to conform to, and death is not part of it. We can see there is a problem in that sometimes soldiers and police are required aforethought to die for the nation and the people. We accept that as natural and right, beyond the personal, under legitimate circumstances, and we don't complain. But when faced with lesser oppressions, such as, for example, Obamacare, the story is repulsive. This is an unjust oppression of individuals. I favor, in this case, civil disobedience and voting the bums out.

I'm concerned that the vote might well be vitiated as it is in Britain by an import of foreigners voting for the party who brought them in, subverting natural justice. And there is the case of Geert Wilders, on trial for "hate speech" at the instigation of a minority of ideologues with the powers fo the state behind them, the mass of the citizenry either cowed or apathetic of their freedoms. In those latter cases I shrug and accept the demise of adult populations.

What I find intolerable is the growth of jihad from outside nations, those with no positive law, i.e. those nations ruled by force and privilege, by family ties and military strength, who act against our national and cultural rights--even here at home, e.g. Saudis and so on studying and rioting in our cities.

One can go unarmed into the greater world and accept that some things unpleasant might happen and can be survived. then again, one can defend oneself from attack, knowing in advance that violence will escalate in such a case. So, do we stay home? Do we risk violating or own home rules by defending ourselves? Our government will have no sympathy for those who defend themselves from harm in foreign lands. Such is the nature of our laws and the practicalities of politics.

My greatest concern is that our own will increasingly turn to violence against us and increasingly support our enemies over seas--against those of us overseas ourselves. If the left riot against our democracy, what will we face from them in struggle against our enemies over seas? I ain't expecting any sympathy from Nancy and Harry and Barry. I think it likely that our efforts to preserve ourselves will be thwarted by the home team. All that in support of the Left utopian vision of being nice to "Others."

Not me personally, but who is the armed private security agent to look to for support in the homeland? When so many of our own are cheering for the other side, what hope is there for support from the rest without power?

Sunday, March 28, 2010 6:49:00 am  
Blogger Dag said...

Yes, M.R., that gets to the heart of it. I ask if there should be proactive defence.

An unlikely example: If the Israeli government were to be taken over by the equivalent of Obama, would Israelis have a right to defend the nation in spite of their government, if, for example, a Palestinian horde were to "return" and change the nation into a Muslim one?

But is Obama a Palestinian equivalent? We still have a vote coming in Nov. so all is not lost, and not even close. Just asking.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 6:55:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

I favor civil disobedience and vote the bums out as well, this was just an exercise.

But I also realize it may come to worse, because of initial violence on either side. A response to civil disobedience may be violent etc.

No matter where you are, you (or your mercs) are responsible for your own safety and must decide for yourself how much risk you will take, how much pain oir loss you will accept before defending yourself, knowing your country is not likely to back you up in someone else's courts.

That's really not a moral question, I don't think, unless you're shooting someone for spitting on your shoe.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 7:50:00 am  
Blogger midnight rider said...

By the way, Dag, if you're still out there I put up a Prokofiev video you may like.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 7:59:00 am  
Blogger Pastorius said...

Dag said: come up with some good reason to show that vigilantes have some legitimate right to defend interntional shipping and crews


I say: An individual out at sea has no recourse to law. Therefore, anything goes. If he is attacked physically, he has the right to respond with whatever force he/she deems necessary to keep his or herself alive.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 12:52:00 pm  
Blogger Epaminondas said...

John Adams, and his bud TJ were right. Property=freedom. KILL THEM ALL. It's the high seas. YOU ARE YOUR OWN JUSTICE.

As for local laws, as an older neighbor once laughingly told me, 'after you kill them, make sure you drag their bodies into the house'. He said the Sheriff had so advised him after some break ins

Welcome to Maine.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 1:16:00 pm  

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